I still remember seeing science fiction movies in my child hood where suddenly a 2D display would emerge from nowhere followed by some quick actions. I always thought it was fiction until I read about the Augmented Reality technology. Although this technology debuted in 1968, it came to common man’s notice only with Google Glass in 2014. This was followed by Microsoft Hololens, snapchat camera filters and Magic Leap One headset to mention a few. This is also the same time when banks were preparing themselves to understand and embrace this technology. There is more than meets the eye. There is more to using this technology that what it seems on the surface.
ART – is it? Augment means to add or enhance something. Augmented reality technology, rather adds the additional graphics, sounds and touch feedback into the real world and uses it to create an enhanced user experience. This is one reason why I prefer to call it ART (Augmented Reality Technology). If there is anything that can bring banking to your drawing room or for that matter to the unlimited space that is all around you, it is possible with ART.
What triggered blending this technology with art is the varied ways in which customer experience can be elevated to the next level using its four variants – marker based, marker less, projection based and superimposition based. Marker based: This is more like a QR/2D code which when scanned by a reader triggers an event or provides the data. Marker less: This is where we use something like GPS, digital compass – a feature embedded in the device to provide the data required (ex: GPS feature to map directions). Projection based: This is where we project light to outside surface. Users can interact by altering the projection and thereby the input gets detected. (ex: 3D interactive hologram picture in air). Superimposition based: This is where partially or completely, the augmented picture replaces the original picture post the detection of object. (ex: ikea augmented reality furniture catalogue).
Applications – is it only touching the tip of iceberg? It is there but not there yet. There are a number of applications as on date. For instance, customers might just scan using their mobile camera at shops in a mall to locate the best offers and deals around them or locate an ATM to withdraw cash. One can even point at product brochures and see the comparison with other similar products. Similarly, banks have come up with home financing apps where customer could scan the property with the mobile camera that he/she may buy, and it gives the past sales history, current property listings and other reviews. Ecommerce and mobile commerce are not far behind. There are talks already about AR apps allowing purchase of a dress just as the model sporting it walks the ramp. However, these applications are just baby steps considering the potential of ART.
Is technology searching for a problem or vice versa? As solution providers many a times albeit unconsciously, we try to fit technology in existing situations without exploring its soul. Unlike banking, ART is in much advanced stages in other domains like for instance it can be used to perform some life threatening surgical procedures. Similarly, ART in banking has to move ahead of just creating a Sci-Fi movie of the past.
There is a lot more AR can achieve, if only it is teamed with other technologies like analytics and artificial intelligence. Visualization is always an outcome for analytics and now one can imagine the power of visualizing using 3D projection clubbed with the real world. This is where AR can redefine the future customer experience. Similarly, for banks which are globally spread, ART can give that sky gaze on the banking operations right into the board rooms. End client trainings can be taken to another level with superimpositions on to the real field. Digitalize a branch person presence in space for the end customers. Broadcast banking ads right on top of the cricket or football grounds spatially. End customers who book tickets can be given real time display regarding the location, historical events of past, interpret foreign text on signboards. Imagination is the limit. Before it becomes too late, banks and solution providers must join the ART jamboree.